in Three Clerks

Chapter 47 – Mr. Nogo’s Last Question


When Charley is said to have been accepted to work at the Office of Weights and Measures, the narrator uses the words “better auspices” to describe such a positive turn of events for Charley’s life. Auspices are the divine signs of natural phenomena (bird patterns most commonly) interpreted by augurs, a select group of priests in ancient Rome. The use of the word “auspices” here suggests that Charley’s path is guided by a higher power. [GZ 2016]


&c., &c., &c.

An abbreviated form of the abbreviation etc., from the Latin et cetera (and the other things): the ampersand derives from a combination of the letters E and T. [RR 2017]


black into white

The ability of Mr. Chaffanbrass to turn “black into white” was mentioned by Trollope before in Chapters 41 and 42. Now, Mr. Whip Vigil is given the same ability. The notion of interchanging blackness and whiteness comes from Juvenal’s Satire, in which a character decries the current state of the city of Rome and foists the blame on public persons who turn “black into white.” Just as in a similar gloss from Chapter 41, we are made to feel glad that Mr. Whip Vigil can turn Charley’s “blackness” into whiteness. This is ironic because Juvenal in his Satire is complaining about the very people who can alter the perception of blackness and whiteness. See also the glosses from Chapters 41 and 42. [GZ 2016]

source: Juvenal, Satire 3.30.